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Coated peanut

Member Since 11 Mar 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:41 PM

#301009 Roaring Girls Season

Posted Epicoene on 17 April 2014 - 10:29 AM

Rap. Oh dear. Another case of a middle-class middle-aged white director trying to be down with the kids.

To be fair I saw this play the last time the RSC did it (Helen Mirren) and they set it in period that time and it still wasn't up to much.

#299989 Time To Support Theatre On Forum!

Posted freckles on 10 April 2014 - 10:20 AM

A forum is designed for an exchange of views.

I'm getting a bit tired of people being slapped down for not praising everything to the heights - whether they are critics, members of forums or people on social media. The ultimate measure of success is surely the production itself, and I see no harm in forum members discussing their views freely. Of course, as with all forums there will always be trolls & extremists, but there are enough heartfelt, genuine contributors on WOS to make it a very useful & interesting resource.

I too feel that I support theatre by buying tickets (and programmes & drinks etc) but if I really didn't rate a production, I don't see any harm in sharing my views. I am interested to hear what others have to say when I'm thinking of booking something and it would be a great loss to me if everybody were unerringly positive and "supportive" at the expense of honest opinion. Of course, I am the first to share when I absolutely love something too.

I know there has been discussion in the media recently about the effect of word-of-mouth and social media on the success, or failure, of a show but think there is a very real danger of social media platforms being hi-jacked by PR bods rather than genuine theatre goers. (Even on these boards, you know who you are!) Many productions use social media as an aspect of their publicity; for some smaller, underfunded shows it is often relied upon as the primary means of promotion. Hence sometimes what one reads online does not truly reflect how the majority of the audience reacted, or how well a show is selling. I've seen at least two fringe productions that were so talked up on twitter that you'd have thought they could have instantly transferred to & filled the Palladium, yet when I saw them, they were seriously lacking. I think the lines between PR and genuine debate are becoming blurred, and feel forum members have a duty to maintain the WOS Forum as a platform for genuine comment & opinion.

So carry on with your observations; I'm going to & I doubt our comments can ever really be blamed for closing a show, the responsibility for that does lie with the production itself.

#295698 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted Dawnstar on 07 March 2014 - 10:40 PM

Sorry for using the wrong word & annoying people. I'm not a legal expert & it was a casual post on a messageboard, not an arguement in a court.

#294723 King Lear - Nt

Posted Theatresquirrel on 01 March 2014 - 01:06 AM

I'm a bit late to the party.

It was entertaining, I'll say that, but Mendes makes some very weird choices that to me don't cohere a complex play, but make it more diffuse.

By making Lear a Stalin-like dictator (of the kind that Albion has never ever had, so why bother?) the suggestion is that Goneril and Regan loathe him for that, not for any greed or shortfall in their own character. So for the first time ever, I felt sympathetic towards them. That is, until this reading falls to bits and they both act like monsters.

Secondly, why oh why would Kent keep up a spurious Irish accent when he's eventually only in the company of the mentally deluded? There's just no need, mate. That he even meticulously maintains it after the gob-smacking event Mendes imposes on the play is even more implausible.

Meanwhile, both Cordelia and Regan are overly RP. Love Anna Maxwell Martin though I do, why cast her if you want to depict Regan as a flashy tramp? She's a great actress but it's just too much a stretch to ask her to be a screechy sex-pest. I was thinking how good the brilliant Margot Robbie from Wolf of Wall Street would have been in this particular characterisation. And sorry, but if you're going to make Cordelia a plaintive Kate Middleton, it's a pretty tall order that we'd believe she might later be handy with a rifle.

Biggest gripe however is this: please, please can we call a moratorium on National Theatre productions of Shakespeare that evoke a present day setting with the same tired tropes every time: all the men in sleek Austin Reed suits; all the women in high heels; superfluous extras marching two-by-two round the front of the stage in army fatigues; helicopter noises overhead. Henry V had it. Hamlet had it. Timon of Athens had it. Othello had it. This has it. And whereas it works sometimes, it doesn't really here because who could believe five separate smart men from such a rigorous, upstanding world could all individually become such hapless wanderers in the pastoral second half? To buy what happens to Lear, Edgar, Gloucester, Kent and the Fool, Albion surely has to be a little bit eccentric to start with.

Not as wayward as the Young Vic production, and not as turgid as the Almeida's most recent one, but not a patch on the Donmar's.

#293778 King Lear - Nt

Posted mallardo on 22 February 2014 - 07:47 AM

In a programme interview Sam Mendes tells us there is a danger in playing Lear as a "foolish fond old man" in Act 1, Scene 1.  Mendes himself has opted for a more political take.  To present Lear as an aging dictator running a militarist state where cold empty pageantry rules.  So Lear's "foolish, fond" act of rewarding his daughters with an early inheritance in return for a little show of love becomes, instead, a staged ceremony that has little to do with his family and all to do with his public image.  

In the circumstances, the hypocrisy of Regan and Goneril is entirely appropriate.  They understand that real feelings are not on the table - it's about making daddy look good. And Cordelia's refusal to play along looks simply petulant and inappropriate. Kent's banishment also seems justified.  If he has a problem with the King, don't take it up HERE, in front of all these people!  

Thus, this producton of Lear gets off to a strangely skewed start from which it never recovers.  We just don't care about him.  He has shown us what he is and what happens to him seems pretty much earned. It's not helped by a performance from SRB that is technically accomplished but hollow at the centre and uninvolving.  We never quite get what Kent and Gloucester and the Fool see in him to provoke such loyalty.  Regan and Goneril see him a lot more clearly.  

His scenes of madness and woe are acting set pieces, not gut-wrenching revelations, and when this is the case the play becomes a sprawling, untidy, lurid, not-very-convincing melodrama that, at three and a half hours, long outstays its welcome.

The rest of the cast is mostly fine except for Anna Maxwell Martin whose manic screeching - was she really directed to play Regan this way? - renders most of what she has to say unintelligible. It's a problem because Regan has a lot of information to impart hence much of the plot falls by the wayside.

The production itself is impressive but the updating provides no benefits.  Several times the contemporary spin on the action took me right out of the play - the waterboarding of Gloucester being the most egregious example.

When Lear brings on the body of Cordelia at the end we should all feel his agony and despair.  Not here.  No tears here.  At this point it's too late for empathy.  And the array of bodies sprawled around the stage has never looked more contrived - or sillier.

It was instructive to me that, at the final bows, no one in the full house stood to applaud. Not one person.  SRB's solo bow elicted some bravos but everyone remained seated.  We were unmoved.

#292939 A Taste Of Honey

Posted Boob on 14 February 2014 - 03:42 PM

The most important things for a show of length:

1) excellence
2) sufficient loo breaks

I find if these two principles are in force, I really don't mind how long it is.  I could have sat through Robert Lepage's nearly-nine hour LIPSYNCH twice, back-to-back.  But you couldn't pay me to see THE MISTRESS CONTRACT (90 MINS, no interval) again.

#291701 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted xanderl on 04 February 2014 - 06:52 PM

View PostBryan99, on 03 February 2014 - 10:23 PM, said:

Just back from an extraordinary evening at the Young Vic. Juliet S was outstanding, stunning and unforgettable.  Thankfully she wasn't overshadowed (quite) by the cougher whose emissions ruffled my hair every 60 seconds or the person next to them who repeated the word "Willie" every single time JS said it.  With a snigger.  Every.  Single.  Time.

I think you'll find this is in the script. The Beckett estate sues if these two characters are omitted.

#291420 Used Tickets

Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 01 February 2014 - 09:20 PM

Maybe they want an alibi.

#290359 Medea- Nt

Posted Honoured Guest on 23 January 2014 - 10:35 PM

View PostEpicoene, on 23 January 2014 - 05:28 PM, said:

His job was to employ people who were in his opinion the best directors and actors available, not implement some form of tokenism based on a policy of political correctness from 25 years into the future.
Where have I heard that before? It sounds similar to David Cameron repeatedly appointing the "best", who he knows personally to be excellent because they attended his (all male) school. Equal opportunities isn't tokenistic and should result in a mich better "best" because it draws from a bigger pool and isn't limited to Peter's chums with penises. And feminism and civil rights pre-date Hall's NT tenure by decades. The audience should be another huge consideration. If a theatre's practitioners exclude representative members of vast swathes of the population, then its focus is similarly narrow and limited.

#290354 Medea- Nt

Posted ROT on 23 January 2014 - 09:53 PM

View PostEpicoene, on 23 January 2014 - 05:47 PM, said:

In the long and grim history of discrimination many groups would take precedence over white women in UK so shouldn't we concentrate on them instead ?

Except that white women make up a very large part, almost 50% of the population.  If half the population has historically been sidelined or otherwise ignored, taken for granted or patronised, then it seems to me a good idea to try to give them opportunities to give their experiences a voice.

#290368 King Lear - Nt

Posted Parsley on 23 January 2014 - 11:44 PM


The worst Lear out of the 7 I have seen- by a mile

Lack of any sort of emotional engagement

SRB totally unsuited to this role, shouting all the time

In my opinion he lacks the status to play Lear in the first instance

McKellen or Jacobi he is not

Luxury supporting cast basically discarded due to lack of directorial effort- Anna Maxwell Martin seemed to think she was in Eastenders

Tacky sets

Uninspired staging

Horrific music

No new insights into the text or characters

Unbearably long

Storm scene particularly cheap and nasty

#276916 Barking In Essex

Posted alec_e10 on 03 September 2013 - 08:10 AM

It sounds fun and I love Sheila Hancock but I really cannot stand Lee Evans in any shape or form so will be giving this a wide berth.
2 hours of watching a man frantically running around the stage soaked in sweat - No ta!

#276532 Disgraceful Customer Service

Posted Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie on 29 August 2013 - 11:23 PM

"ooops sorry didn't realise this was a spelling forum....get a life will you !"

Grammar, not spelling, darling.

#272692 Mishaps You've Seen

Posted Matthew Winn on 18 July 2013 - 01:54 PM

I've seen many, many, many mishaps, from the stuck bridge at the start of Fame with the crew frantically trying to free it up and get it into place before anyone actually needed it (they succeeded, just) to the time in Chicago when John Barrowman whacked me in the nads with his cane. But one of my favourite stories is from a show where I was in the crew, and it's the story of the confetti cannon.

Fortunately for everyone it happened during a rehearsal. We never did find out for certain exactly what went wrong, but I strongly suspect the problem was that the supplier worked in metres and the stage manager worked exclusively in feet and measured the theatre accordingly. What we do know is that what was supposed to be a gentle shower of confetti over the cast became a paper projectile of doom. I was in the theatre kitchen/prop-store at the time, and when I'd recovered from the explosion I ran on stage to find everyone stunned into immobility. Those nearest the cannon were pebble-dashed with coloured paper. Part of the cardboard disc that had supported the confetti above the pyro was recovered from the middle of the stalls; the rest had been destroyed. And for many months afterwards anyone standing on the stage could look up and see occasional bits of confetti twinkling in the lights as they freed themselves from the girders and ducts in which they'd been wedged.

We decided not to use the confetti cannon again.

#272344 Single Theatre Goers

Posted craftymiss on 14 July 2013 - 07:51 PM

I book ticket then tell my friends, if they can fit in with joining me then that's fine, if not then that's fine too. I just get to see what I want when I want without compromising (I know it's selfish)